A woman needed 15 stitches after being blasted in the head with a water cannon during Dutch anti-lockdown protests, sending her crashing into a concrete wall.
Footage filmed on a street in Eindhoven showed the moment that Denisa Stastna took the full force of a jet of water that was fired from a police truck on Sunday.
The Czech national was left with a fractured skull, more than 15 stitches in her head and an injured lip after the blast of water flung her against the side of a building.
She and her boyfriend claim they had merely been filming and were not taking part in the protests – but authorities say they should have left the area under an emergency order to disperse the crowds.
Czech national Denisa Stastna is seen bloodied after being blasted with a water cannon during a protest in the Dutch city of Eindhoven
Denisa’s boyfriend Michael Piksel insisted that the pair ‘were never out for violence’, according to radio station Omroep Brabant.
‘It hurts that we are dismissed as troublemakers, hooligans or Pegida supporters,’ he said, referring to the anti-Islam group which was involved in the protests.
Denisa herself said: ‘We just stood there filming and walked away. They had no right to use the water cannon on us.’
Asked what they were protesting about, she said: ‘Against nothing’.
The couple is now planning to take action against the police after footage of her injury was broadcast in Dutch media.
Stastna claims she and her boyfriend were filming protests in Eindhoven when she was blasted by the water cannon. The impact broke her skull and she needed 15 stitches
But a spokesman for Dutch prosecutors said there were ‘several announcements’ telling people to leave under emergency rules during the protests.
Hundreds of people have now been arrested after rioters – using rocks, fireworks and Molotov cocktails – besieged Dutch cities for four days to protest a tough lockdown which has been in place since mid-December.
The rioting, which started with the torching of a coronavirus testing centre in a fishing village on Saturday night, is the worst to hit the Netherlands in years.
Though the unrest was initially triggered by the restrictive lockdown, calls for rioting on social media spread among young people increasingly fuelled the disobedience.
Schools have been closed in the country since the Christmas holidays.
The violence stretched the police and led at times to the deployment of military police.
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